December 29, 2005

I have to tell you, there is close to zero security along much of the Pakistani border. There are no roadblocks (other than ones we set up ourselves for a few days at a stretch), there are no roving border patrols; there are only a few widely dispersed observation posts at the top of various mountain peaks, too far away to stop and check foot and vehicle traffic even if they wanted to (which they evidently do not).

Essentially, the border -- although technically “closed to commerce” (smugglers often trek their goods over the hills by mule to avoid notice) -- is an open sieve, allowing Taliban and al-Qaeda forces near complete freedom of movement in and out of the country. Still, the Pakistanis claim to be an “ally” in the hunt for bin Laden and his cronies. With friends like these, who needs enemies? In my not-so-humble opinion, we will never find UBL or eradicate the remaining ACMs without unfettered access across the border and into the heart of Pakistan. Invasion, if you will.

I would, but I know we won’t.

Like Cambodia was for the Vietcong, al-Qaeda will continue to use Pakistan as a safe haven and launching pad for further attacks on coalition forces for as long as they know that it is politically off limits to us.

I seem to recall the Bush Doctrine as stating that all terrorists, and any nations that harbor them, will be held equally to account.
Apply your doctrine, Mr. Bush. The Paki’s are not our friends.


BigDog said...

Pakistan is in a tough spot. They have a large number of Pasthuns along the Afghan border and government authority in those areas is nominal at best. Its from these areas that one hears of the barbaric tribal punishments like gang-raping women because of some slight to one tribe or another.

Musharrif has been as accomodating as we can expect and has been targeted for assasination. There is a rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan for years. The Army was the strongest institution in Pakistan, and has been "infected" with this fundamentalism.

Whew. Big mess, and the US is unlikely to spare divisions to "intervene" there directly. We have to pick our fights.

DAVE BONES said...

I met some taliban in Pakistan in 2000. British and Pakistani. Interesting people. I think that if Bin Laden is anywhere he'll be in the North West frontier province, but then he could also nip thru China into Bangladesh I suppose. I doubt if the Chinese would stop him.

BigDog said...

Probably true. Earth is still a big place even with all our numbers and technology. As long as OBL has money, he can hide.

DAVE BONES said...

Especially as no one is looking for him. he must feel a bit left out.

I.:.S.:. said...

"Its from these areas that one hears of the barbaric tribal punishments like gang-raping women because of some slight to one tribe or another."

Nope, that one was in the Punjab, as it happens, and occurs in other backward / rural areas of the sub-continent, like Bihar (India), for example.

Although there was a pretty good one when I was there when they trashed a girls' school in Baltistan (somewhere around Dir) and raped all the students, just to make it absolutely clear what they thought about women's education.

(BTW, who were you quoting there? Terrible use of apostrophe's...)

I.:.S.:. said...

Oh, and I gave the Taliban 2 rupees once, when one of their donation-collectors got on the bus and intoned Koranic verses musically, outside Peshawar somewhere.

As to how much of the hard currency I've spent on hard drugs has ended up with either the Taliban or our allies in Afghanistan, and what sort of weaponry / supplies it has bought them - that would be really interesting to find out.

The price of a mere ounce of smack in London would probably buy a small case of assault rifles in Darra Adam Khel.

DAVE BONES said...

Dara, now that was fun.

What does BTW mean? and who is quoting what?